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Fairfax County Names New Fire Chief

Richard Bowers Jr. is currently fire chief of Montgomery County, Md.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors appointed Richard Bowers Jr. the county’s new fire chief Tuesday afternoon.

Bowers will leave his current position as fire chief in Montgomery County, Md., which he has held since 2008. He has served in the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service for more than 35 years.

Bowers take over for Ronald Mastin, who plans to retire from the Fairfax County Fire Department on May 7. Bowers’ appointment is effective April 29.

After his appointment, Bowers told Patch one of his priorities would be community outreach and fire prevention.

“I think the most important thing is that I’m their fire chief,” he said, referring to Fairfax County residents. “We’re going to use every available means to get the word out about safety and prevention.”

During his time as Montgomery County chief, Bowers managed the combined career and volunteer service of more than 2,100 firefighters and rescuers. He also handled an operating budget of $204 million and capital improvement program budget of $44 million.

In Fairfax, he'll oversee nearly 1,400 uniformed men and women and 180 civilians across the county's 37 fire and rescue stations, including the Annandale Station 8 on Columbia Pike and Station 23 on Little River Turnpike.

He will receive an annual salary of $187,500.

Bowers said he also intends to focus on proper training for the men and women of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department.

“I think the most important thing is a state of readiness, and the foundation of that is training,” he said. “This department is great. Its technical competence is unbelievable.”

Bowers attended he University of Maryland, where he earned a master degree certification in human resource management, a bachelor of fire science degree and a public fire-protection management and administration education certificate.

Bower is the current chair of the Washington Metropolitan Council of Governments National Capital Region Fire Chiefs Committee and was a Pentagon 9/11 operational response task force member and served as a member of the FEMA USAR Oklahoma City bombing disaster response team.

Beth Abrahms February 14, 2013 at 07:53 AM
Can we get a new police chief in Annandale?
Sherell Williams February 14, 2013 at 07:47 PM
Hi Beth, Annandale is covered by three police districts (Mason, Franconia, and West Springfield) within the Fairfax County police department, so we only have commanders in charge of those stations. Right now, James Morris is Acting Chief of Police for the county. Are you unhappy with the leadership from the Annandale area station commanders?
Beth Abrahms February 16, 2013 at 02:34 PM
Hi Sherell You attended the Mason District town hall and heard Lee talk about selective enforcement of loitering. That's his policy - let day laborers gather wherever they want, requiring chain link fences to keep people off private property. His view is that the loitering to make a pn honest living is okay - even if residents oppose the growing loitering. But he asks us to call police immediately if there is loitering on the pedestrian bridge over 50. Hundreds of people can gather and loiter at th 7-11 near Culmore. 1 person loiters in the ped walkway -call the police. That's policy he's creating. clearly from the town hall many people oppose this selective enforcement. What say do we have? Who listens to residents' concerns that day laborer loitering brings other issues - littering, petty crime, overcrowding in residential and apartment properties, decrease in property values, increases in county spending, pedestrian and driver safety issues. He's made it clear. mason is a safe harbor for day laborers, possibly illegal aliens.
Sherell Williams February 16, 2013 at 02:42 PM
Hi Beth. Thanks for explaining your comment and indulging my curiosity. I was indeed at the meeting. The sentiments you expressed here are similar to some of the comments and concerns expressed last month at the town hall. It's worth keeping in mind for additional follow-up coverage on the site. I appreciate you taking the time to respond!

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